Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shabazz Palaces: Are You... Can You... Were You? (Felt)

Though Black Up by Shabazz Palaces was not reviewed for Letters From A Tapehead, I did try and give the release some ink. I haven’t heard the album in its entirety, though I still mean to, but every song I have heard has been either very interesting or just well crafted. Verses with content, decent loops or at least melodic samples. All of this seems so rare in hip-hop nowadays, though I’m the first to admit some ignorance with regard to whatever’s happening on the streets, which is where you find real hip-hop anyway.

All info comes courtesy of Sub Pop.

2011 was a stellar year for Seattle’s Shabazz Palaces, the sonic movement of Palaceer Lazaro (Ishmael Butler). The debut release, Black Up, was one of the most critically celebrated records of 2011, landing of the Best of lists at SPIN, LA Times, The New Yorker, Pitchfork and more. Shabazz Palaces has no plans to slow down in 2012, announcing the groups first official stateside touring, kicking off on April 3 in Minneapolis, with European dates predating their North American tour.

To remind you how truly awesome Shabazz Palaces really is, we thought we would share with you the new video for the groups song “Are You... Can You... Were You...? (Felt)“, which was directed by Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes. You can watch the video by clicking here.

For more information on Shabazz Palaces please visit: http://www.subpop.com/artists/shabazz_palaces

Shabazz Palaces Tour dates:

Saturday, February 18, 2012 La Cave aux poetes, Roubaix France

Sunday, February 19, 2012 Stereolux, Nantes France
Monday February 20, 2012 Les Trinitaires, Metz France
Tuesday February 21, 2012 Strasbourg La Laiterie, France
Friday February 24, 2012 Palace, St Gallen Switzerland
Saturday, February 25, 2012 Stall 6, Zurich Switzerland
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 Astoria, Turin Italy
Thursday, March 01, 2012 Circolo degli Artisti, Rome Italy
Friday, March 02, 2012 Bronson, Ravenna Italy
Saturday, March 03, 2012 Studio 2 Vigonovo (Venezia) Italy
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 The Whole, Minneapolis MN (All Ages Show)
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Mad Planet. Milwaukee WI
Thursday, April 5, 2012 Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL
Friday, April 6, 2012 Magic Stick, Detroit MI
Saturday, April 7, 2012 The Horn Gallery, Gambier OH
Sunday, April 2012 The Shadow Lounge, East Liberty PA
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 Lee’s Palace, Toronto ON
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 II Motore, Montreal QC
Thursday, April 12, 2012 Iron Horse, Northampton MA
Friday, April 13 2012 SOB’s, New York NY 
Saturday, April 14, 2012 Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn NY

Letters From A Tapehead

Ufomammut: Oro: Opus Primum

Details about the Ufomammut's upcoming two-chapter Oro series have emerged. All info comes courtesy of Earsplit PR.

Ufomammut's 2010 ode to Eve was reviewed at Stereokiller.

UFOMAMMUT Reveal Details For First Chapter Of Two-Part Neurot Debut

More details on Oro: Opus Primum – the first installment of the new two-album series from Italy’s supernatural doom sorcerers, UFOMAMMUT — have this week been confirmed.

Already known for their attention to detail with each release, including meticulous, quality artwork and packaging as expansive and layered as every obliterating UFOMAMMUT release is musically, this time they take it one notch higher and have completed a massive two-part album, set for release months apart.

Now confirmed for release in the UK on April 9th, throughout the rest of Europe on April 13th, and in North America April 17th, this week the artwork and track listing for the incredibly anticipated first installment of the series —
Oro: Opus Primum — have been unveiled for the first time.

Oro: Opus Primum Track Listing:

1. Empireum

2. Aureum
3. Infearnatural
4. Magickon
5. Mindomine

More details on the album will be released in the weeks ahead as the world awaits the arrival of UFOMAMMUT’s latest art. The second chapter in this monolithic two-part album, Oro: Opus Alter, will be released sometime in September with more details to be unveiled throughout the months following Opus Primum.

2012 will see UFOMAMMUT expanding their touring circles wider across the face of the planet in support of Oro. Stay tuned throughout the year as more details on the release and the act’s tour schedule are confirmed.


Letters From A Tapehead

Chrome Cranks: Rubber Rat

Swans' Michael Gira has attached his name to a new album from 90s noise band, Chrome Cranks.  Their first new album since 1997's Love In Exile, Ain't No Lies in Blood is currently out.  So, here's a song from the album that will hopefully inspire you to go out, tap your resources and pick it up.

Info comes to you courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media.

Since the 2009 reactivation of the classic 1990s lineup of the Chrome Cranks fans have been grinding their teeth for a new album of the influential New York band's volatile, high-octane blasts. In these chokingly bleak, post-ironic times there simply aren't any other acts out there like the Cranks, who play unapologetically confrontational, utterly incendiary rock 'n' roll like they mean it with every poisoned pore. Like few bands before or since, the foursome-singer/guitarist Peter Aaron, guitarist William G. Weber, drummer Bob Bert, and bassist Jerry Teel-simultaneously embraces and destroys rock's very traditions. But finally this soft, pain-deserving world has something new to choke on: Ain't No Lies in Blood, the first album of new Chrome Cranks material since 1997, which is out now on Thick Syrup Records (CD) and Bang! Records (LP).

Cut and mixed in three blistering days with producer Kevin McMahon (Walkmen, Swans, Titus Andronicus) in Upstate New York,
Ain't No Lies in Blood is the eighth album in the Cranks' nearly 25-year history-and their hardest, noisiest, heaviest, and nastiest by far. In keeping with the band's earlier oeuvre, it's another swirling hell of dark, raw, distorted blues-based squalls; hypnotic, labyrinthine detours through primordial swampland; and searing flashes of deep, torchy drama. This release, however, strips the outfit's minimal, no-bullshit M.O. even farther down, to its most savage and primal essence. There's the locomotive, open-wounded wail of "I'm Trash," which flattens all in its path and hints at early '80s hardcore angst, and "Rubber Rat," a screaming, stomping mess of bony, cartilage-cracking fists. Three radically remade covers include an epic trawl through the Byrds' "Lover of the Bayou," and of course the Cranks' trademark murky 'n' moody side is present in all its black, jagged glory: Check the swaggering decadence of "Let it Ring" and "Star to Star."
"[The Chrome Cranks] had me screaming with joy," says Swans/Angels of Light front man Michael Gira, who witnessed the reunited band's return show in 2009 and later drew the demonic cover art for Ain't No Lies in Blood. "I almost threw my beer at them, I was so happy."

Formed by Aaron and Weber (G.G. Allin's Murder Junkies) in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the late '80s, the Chrome Cranks moved to New York in 1992 and acquired Teel (Honeymoon Killers) and, eventually, Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore). The quartet's explosive sound, capped with Aaron's paint-scraping voice and feral stage persona, quickly saw the Cranks rise to the top of the Lower East Side trash heap. After a split EP with Foetus, the band's eponymous debut on PCP Entertainment arrived in 1994;
Dead Cool (Crypt Records, 1995) and Love in Exile (1997, PCP Entertainment) followed, as well as several live and archival releases. The outfit toured Europe, the US, and Canada incessantly and appeared on MTV before splitting in 1998, leaving deep marks on future members of the White Stripes, Mooney Suzuki, and other acts who've cited the Cranks as an influence. The group reunited for shows in the US and Europe in 2009 and 2010.
"This is music that could have popped up in any bar over the last forty years, give or take a few squeals," writes the New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones. "If you aren't particularly interested in this year's most unusual trend and want to cut to the chase, the Chrome Cranks will be there, grinding away at their Platonic ideal of rock 'n' roll."

A horrifically powerful record, Ain't No Lies in Blood shows that for the Chrome Cranks mellowing with age is simply not an option. Back to the grind!

● Nine-track, 36-minute album features classic, influential 1990s lineup.

● Album co-produced by Kevin McMahon (the Walkmen, Swans, Titus Andronicus).
● LP and CD boast original artwork by Michael Gira (Swans/Angels of Light).
● Download available January 2012 through Amazon, Spotify, and standard outlets.

Letters From A Tapehead

No Ripcord: Pop. 1280

Pop. 1280
The Horror
Sacred Bones
Released: 1.24.12

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, January 30, 2012

What I Heard This Morning: Psychic Ills

So, here’s one I missed in 2011: Hazed Dream by Psychic Ills. 2012 will see tour dates from the group as well a SXSW appearance. All info comes courtesy of Life or Death PR & Management.

Photo by: Dalton Flint

New York City's Psychic Ills returned after a brief break with 2011's Hazed Dream, their debut record for Sacred Bones.

Hazed Dream is a long stony trip, the album boasts their classic psych guitar riffs and also drone, organs and most importantly, the album is a return to songwriting. Psychic Ills have taken bits and pieces of their previous work and expanded their ideas into their most accessible album to date. So, take a hit and wander with Psychic Ills this spring when they hit your town with always joyful duo, Prince Rama.



1. Midnight Moon
2. Mind Daze
3. Incense Head
4. Mexican Wedding
5. That's Alright
6. Ring Finger
7. Travelin' Man
8. Sungaze
9. Dream Repetition
10. I'll Follow You Through the Floor
11. Same Old Song

3/06 Raleigh, NC - Kings Barcade
3/07 Atlanta, GA - 529 !
3/08 Memphis, TN - Lamplighter
3/09 Denton, TX - Denton Confederette *
3/11 New Orleans, LA - Cafe Istanbul
3/12 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live #
3/14 - 17 Austin, TX - SXSW
3/19 Hot Springs, AR - Low Key Arts $
3/20 Lawrence, KS - Jackpot Music Hall
3/21 St. Louis, MO 2720 Cherokee $
3/22 Chicago, IL - Hideout $
3/23 Cleveland, OH - Happy Dog $
3/24 Pittsburgh, PA - Assemble $
4/06 Baltimore, MD - Golden West %
4/07 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge %
4/08 Philadelphia, PA - Phonographic Arts Liberty Festival

! = w/ Lyonnais & Lotus Plaza
* = w/ Woodsman
# = w/ R. Stevie Moore & The Men
$ = w/ Prince Rama
% = w/ Night Beats

Letters From A Tapehead

Stereokiller: The Devil's Blood

The Devil's Blood
The Thousandfold Epicentre
Metal Blade Records
Released: 1.17.12

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mark Lanegan Band: The Gravedigger's Song (officially with video)

An official video for Mark Lanegan's excellent new single, "The Gravedigger's Song," is now out and viewable.  Blues Funeral, his first album to be released since 2004's very necessary LP, Bubblegum, will out February 6th.  Expect a review to be featured at Kicking Against The Pricks.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What I Heard This Morning: The Men

Brooklyn four-piece, The Men, (as bad a band name as Girls or Women), are releasing an album in March dubbed, Open Your Heart.  The title track has surfaced online and it's a well-honed piece of melody-infused garage punk, enough distortion to offset the dangers of injecting pop-friendly notes into an intentionally alienating musical subgenre.

All links are provided by Life Or Death PR & Management.  All opinions about their band name, are from me. 




photo by: Kevin Faulkner

The Men are pleased to share their first single, "Open Your Heart", which is off their genre bending album, Open Your Heart.

Over the last three years, The Men have dabbled in everything from hardcore punk to psych to shoegaze to black metal; and they have done all of it effortlessly, and for the most part, flawlessly. Totally removed from the current climate of a.d.d-youtube-blog-hyped generation of musicians under 21, The Men stand out from the pack as both scene elders and actual record collectors. On the band's 3rd full length, The Men explore twangy country music, guitar solos, surf-ish riffs, psych, and just about errrry-thing in between. Open your heart & let in, The Men.

MARCH 6th, 2012

1/24 Hamburg Germany Hafenklang
1/25 Copenhagen Denmark KB18 !
1/27 Malmo Sweden Debaser
1/28 Oslo Norway Revolver
1/29 Stockholm Sweden Debaser
1/30 Helsinki Finland Full Steam
2/2 Berlin Germany West Germany
2/3 Leipzig Germany UT
2/4 Lausanne Czech Romandie
2/5 Lyon France Sonic
2/6 Toulouse France
2/7 Barcelona Spain Apollo 2
2/8 Madrid Spain Siroco
2/9 Lisbon Portugal ZDB
2/11 Athens Greece AN Club
2/12 Paris France Instant Chavires
2/13 Bordeaux France St Ex
2/14 Poitiers France Confort Moderne
2/15 Nantes France Pole Etudiant
2/16 St. Malo France Route Du Rock fest
2/17 Evreux France Abordage
2/18 Brighton UK Green Door Store
2/19 London UK Vice secret show
2/20 Liverpool UK Mojo
2/21 Leeds UK Brudenel
2/22 Norwich UK Norwich Arts Center
2/23 London UK Camp Basement

3/07 - Brooklyn, NY @ 285 Kent *
3/08 - Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
3/10 - Nashville, TN @ The End #
3/11 - New Orleams, LA @ Siberia (Foburg Festival)
3/12 - Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
3/13 - San Antonio, TX @ El Ten Eleven
3/14-17 - Austin, TX @ South by Southwest
3/18 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada Bro Fest
3/19 - Springfield, MO @ Outland Ballroom
3/20 - Iowa City, IA @ Gabe's Oasis *
3/21 - Chicago, IL @ Treasure Town *
3/22 - Detroit, MI @ Lager House *
3/23 - Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar *
3/24 - Montreal, QC @ TBA

! = w/ Iceage

* w/ Nude Beach
# w/ Mikal Cronin

Letters From A Tapehead

Leonard Cohen: The Darkness

Leonard Cohen is 77 years old.  His is a singing style he's managed to carry through decades, his voice a bass conversational delivery that requires the least amount of melody to work.  Here, Cohen sings "The Darkness," a country-blues song as timeless as any, but better than most, (which, of course, applies to the genre's more recent manufacturing of pop-riddled, disposable, line-dancing shit).

Cohen's new album, Old Ideas, is out today.

Letters From A Tapehead

Mastodon: Dry Bone Valley (Teaser)

Artist, Tim Biskup, animated and directed Mastodon's latest video for the song, "Dry Bone Valley," their latest single from 2011's The Hunter.  A teaser is available though the video itself won't premiere until 4PM, left coast time.

The Hunter was reviewed at No Ripcord.

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cloud Nothings: No Future/No Past

“No Future/No Past,” the new single from Cloud Nothings’ upcoming new album, Attack On Memory, has been circulating online alongside a new video produced by Urban Outfitters. Much as I’m not one to promote the criminally opportunistic tendencies of Urban Outfitters, as the organization has been known to acquire, mimic and plagiarize independent artists on more than a few occasions, the video for Cloud Nothings’ new track is compelling to watch, the sole actor hovering over a selection of ground, flooring or pavement before he is ultimately pulled into the sky. His face is scarily emotive and those sections of the song where emotion is heightened, volume is upped and attention is demanded seem enhanced by his performance.

Attack On Memory is available to stream before release, which is tomorrow, January 24th. All info, links and concert dates come courtesy of Life Or Death PR & Management.

Hopefully, if there’s any money to be made off this video, Urban Outfitters can start hiring designers that do more than just rip-off other more talented and visionary artists in the field.  Just a thought.

Cloud Nothings - "No Future / No Past" Official Video from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.




With the release of Cloud Nothings' newest album Attack on Memory imminent, the band shares the music video for "No Future/No Past." The video is the product of a collaboration between Cloud Nothings, Carpark Records, director John Ryan Manning and Urban Outfitters. Read an interview with director Ryan Manning, cinematographer Caleb Crossen and drummer Jayson Gercyz about the making of the video here: http://blog.urbanoutfitters.com/features/cloud_nothings.

Stream Attack on Memory in full for one more day via Complex before its release on Carpark Records tomorrow.

VIDEO: "No Future/No Past" - http://vimeo.com/34974222

MP3: "No Sentiment" - http://www.thefader.com/2012/01/13/cloud-nothings-no-sentiment-mp3/

MP3: "Stay Useless" - http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/free-download-cloud-nothings-lo-fi-track-stay-useless-20111209

MP3: "No Future/No Past" - http://www.spin.com/articles/first-spin-cloud-nothings-no-future-no-past

1/26 New York, NY - Studio at Webster Hall
2/16 Chattanooga, TN - JJ's Bohemia
2/17 Atlanta, GA - The Earl
2/18 Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
2/20 Orlando, FL - Backbooth
2/21 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder
2/23 Houston, TX - Fitzgerald's
2/24 San Antonio, TX - Ten Eleven
2/25 Austin, TX - Red 7
2/26 El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Palace
2/27 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
2/28 Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom
2/29 San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
3/1 Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar
3/2 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
3/3 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
3/5 Portland, OR - Holocene
3/6 Seattle, WA - The Crocodile
3/7 Vancouver, CA - The Media Club
3/8 Boise, ID - Neurolux
3/9 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
3/10 Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
3/12 Kansas City, MO - The Riot Room
3/17 McAllen, TX - Simon Sez
3/20 Nashville, TN - The End
3/21 Louisville, KY - Zanzabar
3/22 Cincinnati, OH - MOTR Pub
3/24 Montreal, QC - Casa del Popolo
3/25 Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
3/26 Providence, RI - Fete Lounge
3/30 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
3/31 Washington, DC - Red Palace
4/1 Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
4/2 Buffalo, NY - Ninth Ward @ Babeville
4/3 Pittsburgh, PA - Brillobox
4/4 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick Lounge
4/5 Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop
4/6 Chicago, IL - Schuba's Tavern
4/7 Columbus, OH - Outland Live

Jan. 24, 2012

1. No Future/No Past
2. Wasted Days
3. Fall In
4. Stay Useless
5. Separation
6. No Sentiment
7. Our Plans
8. Cut You 
Letters From A Tapehead

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Brave Mysteries: A Snowy Day With Two Hours to Kill and an Enabling Tape Deck — Part 1

As formats have evolved over the years and listeners have grown accustomed to new methods of listening, absorbing and consuming music, it's been remarkable how physical formats have fought to maintain relevancy while the trends have been pushing mightily to cancel them out.  Compact discs are not gone yet.  Vinyl?  A resilient presence in the market that's been enjoying a high level of collector appreciation.  And cassettes.  I've been seeing more and more cassettes.

Based on assumption, purely assumption as I've not delved fully into the reasoning behind any cassette renaissance, (which owes itself to such a small population of music lovers anyway, I'm not even sure a cassette resurgence could even as a "renaissance"), cassettes seem to be where vinyl was in the 90s.  Remember when Pearl Jam appealed to nostalgia with "Spin the Black Circle?"  The market was driven mostly by CD buyers and, though they didn't hush the vinyl market completely, cassettes, which seemed just fine early in the decade, saw less and less appreciation and presence.  Tape decks eventually became the new turntables, that obsolete tool now gathering dust while CD players became the height of music technology.

After a decade of pushing digital formats across the Internet for the everyday music consumer, the niche market record collectors are adjoined at the hip en masse in an attempt to keep the physical formats, and the stores that specialize in their sale, in circulation.  But, as vinyl grows more and more popular in the face of digital media, and CDs still offer reliable enough residency to big album reissues, anniversary editions and specially marketed new releases, cassettes seem the truly underground musical statement.  Being someone whose first musical epiphanies came about through their ease of transport, countless dubs and playback, it's easy to understand how non-commercial music finds them appealing.

First of all, a label like Brave Mysteries, whom I'm spotlighting in the article thanks to a package I received maybe a month ago, is in this for the love of music.  I find it difficult to believe that any label putting out cassettes of new music is really in it for any foreseeable payday, except the satisfaction of providing an intriguing product to a limited fanbase that still understands the romance of the cassette.  For all its drawbacks and inconvenience of playback, rewind, fast forward, to hear music through a cassette was magical years ago, especially once you brought the Walkman into the picture.  Revelations would power through my ears as I waited for my school bus every morning, and some of those revelations were crafted through my own design with the wonders of mixtapes.

Second of all, I also remember going to local shows and picking up tapes from many of the bands on the bill.  Many of these tapes weren't well produced, dubbed from some shitty tape recorder while the band performed a song in a less than acoustically sound basement.  So, no you weren't buying a superior recording, but you were taking home something unique and relatively inexpensive.  Next to CDs and the very few local bands putting out vinyl in those days, tapes were easy to duplicate, market, carry and sell.  I still have a drawer full of tapes I'd picked up at my high school or college from some of the local bands I knew of or some of the local shows I'd seen.  They're definitely mementos of some bygone era, but also a reminder of how analog and hands-on methods of self-promotion used to be.

Plus, there was an anticipatory step to tapes that's now seen as inconvenience.  Yes, you had to work to hear a specific song, but didn't you get some reward from the task of rewinding, stopping, rewinding and then listening once you were finished?

Well, that might be a stretch.  I won't lie: push button track location is still excellent.

Rose Croix
Released: 2011 (limited to 100)

The songs simply titled as their successive Roman numeral, the sounds huge and enveloping, Rose Croix's debut was apparently four years in the making, constructed by three unnamed musicians.  The cassette itself has no info on the performers, no running list of musical duties or responsibilities.  You can only guess what kind of equipment the band were using.

Musically, Rose Croix invest themselves into conjuring some kind of black mass, ritualistic clangor and massive organ chords, an enormity to their percussion and prayer in their melodies.  Vocally Mediterranean, though I think Diamanda Galás at points, you get caught up in transitioning song and both its culturally and perhaps cult-ish influences.  "III," in particular, sounds almost operatic, colossal punch with an endlessness and distance to it in terms of instrumentation.  It's impressive.

Rose Croix - "V" [Brave Mysteries 2011] from Brave Mysteries on Vimeo.

Laissons Les Sortir
Released: 2011 (limited to 100)

An immersion of psychedelia and noise, Chicaloyah is the efforts of one Alice Dourlen, a multi-instrumentalist.  Her release, Laissons Les Sortir, isn't so much music as it is an experimental collection of percussive and atonal ideas. 

  10 Chicaloyoh - Le Chateau De Wryrych (Edit) by Brave Mysteries 

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, January 20, 2012

Beauty Pill: Afrikaner Barista

I'm listening to Beauty Pill's newest single, "Afrikaner Barista," both completely mesmerized and excited to hear something new from this band after their eight-year hiatus.  In addition to the new song, an interview is available featuring a conversation with BP singer/songwriter, Chad Clark, about Beauty Pill's Immersive Ideal project and the band's decision to write and record music in public view at Arlington museum, Artisphere. 

All information and links come courtesy of Terrorbird Media.

Beauty Pill Premieres New Track At 99% Invisible; In-Depth Band Interview Available For Download

Immersive Ideal Project Running Through January 22 At DC's Artisphere

Listen/Download: Beauty Pill Feature via 99% Invisible
isten: "Afrikaner Barista" via Soundcloud

99% Invisible is running a feature about Beauty Pill and the band’s current
Immersive Ideal project. The team at 99% Invisible sat down with Beauty Pill’s Chad Clark for an in-depth conversation that left no stone unturned discussing Clark’s near death experience in 2008, the choice to record an entire album in public and the paradoxes of creativity and collaboration.

The piece is currently available to stream and download on the 99% Invisible website and will air on KALW in San Francisco today.

Additionally the site is running the world premiere of a new Beauty Pill song "Afrikaner Barista."

“'Afrikaner Barista' is about a lot of things, but chiefly desire,” says Clark. “It has been described as a ‘six minute Coltranean mindf**k.’ This description pleased the band to no end.”


This past summer, Beauty Pill embarked on a 2-week commissioned residency at a new art museum called
Artisphere. The residency was unusual: it involved the band recording its new album entirely in full view of the public. Beauty Pill’s creative process essentially became an exhibit in the museum. They called the project Immersive Ideal.
Immersive Ideal returned to Artisphere this month as a multimedia, multi-screen, user-controlled installation that is running through Sunday, January 22.

Visitors can listen to Beauty Pill's new music while enveloped in shifting photographs that document the band's experiment in artistic transparency. Additionally, the music is presented in an installation-only surround-sound mix.

The band intends to release music from the
Immersive sessions in the form of two consecutive albums.

Record label is pending.

Features about Beauty Pill’s
Immersive Ideal summer residency

[page 18]
Splice Today

Washington Post

Washington City Paper

Features about Beauty Pill's
Immersive Ideal winter installation

Washington Post

99% Invisible

Washington City Paper

On Tap Magazine

Arlington Mercury

Beauty Pill
eauty Pill Twitter

Letters From A Tapehead 

Etta James (1938-2012)

No Auto-Tune or tweaks.  No Pro Tools or polish.  Just soul, finesse and talent. 

The kids have nothing on you, Etta JamesR.I.P.

Letters From A Tapehead

The Mailbox Giveth: spielgusher

Clenchedwrench/Org Music
Released: 1.17.12

Legendary ex-Minuteman Mike Watt has had his name attached to four albums in two years, (if I’m not mistaken or missing anything): the jazz-quartet debut of Floored By Four, his own third punk opera, Hyphenated-Man, dos’ latest album with Kira Roessler and now the spoken word/art rock mutation, spielgusher, aided by the witticisms and prosaic vocal spew of rock critic, Richard Meltzer. If “econo” truly is the yardstick by which Watt continues to create music, this term doesn’t seem to apply to the man’s prolificacy.

The spielgusher concept was apparently born late in the Minutemen’s run, Watt and singer/guitarist D. Boon both Meltzer enthusiasts. Meltzer proposed the collaboration and sent along lyrics, or “spiels,” and even planned to add saxophone music. But, as the story unfortunately went, D. Boon passed away and the Minutemen ceased to be. The project was put on hold indefinitely. Watt revisited the idea much later around 2004, Meltzer having submitted a CD of his own verses read aloud and the spielgusher project took shape musically around 2008 in the midst of a creative friendship Watt had sparked with Yuko Araki (drums) and Hirotaka Shimizu (guitar) of Cornelius fame.

Origin stuff’s out the way…

As much as it’s a generalization to say, I think there’s substantial evidence to support the belief that music critics long to be the performers. For lack of musical ability, compensation is made through qualifying research, fandom, a well-stocked record collection and maybe some knack with the English language or just knowledge of the alphabet. Lester Bangs, Lenny Kaye, Patti Smith… And, Richard Meltzer, who doesn’t deviate so much from his trade as rock writer, but instead assumes poet duties atop Mike Watt’s jazz punk abstractions, is offered the opportunity to exist in a recorded format, exposed to his own kind’s scrutiny and skepticism. The fragments he gushes, the observations he dryly notes, the oft-vulgar musings his headspace entertains… Over 63 tracks, some of which are instrumental, Meltzer doesn’t offer much in terms of passion, much of the text read aloud in a somewhat clinical manner.

Meltzer, though, through his tone, makes his non-rhythmic poetry at least amusing. An old man saying things like, “I want you to come to my door with your skirt raised and your pussy showing,” especially with the slight tinge of complacency that seems to shroud every syllable, makes him sound fascinatingly bored with what he’s written. Can you imagine making such requests of a female while seeming completely uninterested in your fantasy? You do get a sense that these words were written by a virile young man, juxtaposition subliminally put across as Meltzer speaks.

However, the admittance of always saving worms from being fried on hot sidewalks (“ALWAYS”) or the severe punishment he believes parents should receive for introducing the idea of Hell to children (“RED HERRING”) humanize his presence enough. Not every word is gold, (“FUCK AWARENESS WEEK” is pretty goofy), but Meltzer’s wit still pulses as Watt and Co. play, their own sometimes seconds long pieces of music the truly avant factor during spielgusher’s one-man conversation. At times it sounds like Watt recycles some old bass lines, “PERSON WHO'S DEAD (FOR WILD MAN FISCHER)” and “CHOWDER, ANYONE?” sounding very familiar, but with the amount of songs the man has written over the course of his thirty-plus years strumming four strings, I could imagine it’s difficult to avoid repeating yourself from time to time. Next to Meltzer, Watt still at least sounds inspired, his younger self not much different than the current one.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fela Kuti: The Musical, the Praise and the Reissues...

I just watched a video of Talib Kweli and Mos Def (having difficulty buying into his Yasiin Bey switchover) performing as Blackstar on stage with the cast of FELA!, a theater piece based on the legendary Fela KutiFELA! is touring around the world and garnering a significant amount of praise.  In the meantime, the Fela catalogue has been reissued by Knitting Factory Records.
All info, links and videos come courtesy of Life of Death PR & Management.



In the past few weeks, musical legends Nas, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Quincy Jones, LL Cool J, Ziggy Marley, and Smokey Robinson have led standing ovations at FELA!, which is now thrilling audiences at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre through January 22nd. FELA! - a celebration of the life of music pioneer Fela Kuti - won three Tony Awards last year for its Broadway adaptation and has been touring the World, with its most recent runs in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

With the blessings of the Kuti family, the show opened in 2009 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. With Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett-Smith coming on board as Producers and Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson of The Roots as Associate Producer, over the next 15 months,
FELA! played host to half a million people. Celebrities kept coming; Madonna, Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington, Ben Stiller, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Harry Belafonte, Spike Lee, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé Knowles, Kofi Annan and First Lady Michelle Obama, to name a handful. The show received 11 Tony nominations and three Tony Awards for Best Choreography, Best Costumes and Best Sound. In 2010, prior to leaving Broadway, FELA! saw a sold-out season of performances at London's prestigious Royal National Theatre and was nominated for scores of Olivier Awards. The original Broadway cast spent two weeks in Lagos, Nigeria in April with the opening performance at the Kuti family's New Africa Shrine, and was the centerpiece of this year's Holland Festival in Amsterdam.
Talib Kweli and Mos Def recently shared the stage with members of the cast of FELA! in San Francisco. Check out this video of the event.

Rapper Nas called the musical "very important work," and Kanye West found the production to be "inspiring" (he also invited the entire cast to a Watch The Throne show). The legendary Stevie Wonder was spotted during opening night of FELA! in Los Angeles, where he harmonized with FELA! dancer Jacqui Dubois on an acapella ditty (video here). The tour, now in Los Angeles until January 22, is headed next to Washington, DC for six shows at the Warner Theatre from January 26 - 29, then to Detroit. Get tickets here.

As swarms of celebrities take to the theatre to profess their love of and influence by the Afrobeat pioneer and First Black President, Fela Kuti, Knitting Factory Records continues to release rare recordings and special editions of Kuti's work, in addition to new albums by his sons Seun Kuti and Femi Kuti. Over the past 2 years, Knitting Factory Records has reissued the entire Fela Kuti catalogue digitally and on CD, and has released one vinyl boxset, curated by ?uestlove of The Roots. This year, a second vinyl boxset will be released in addition to a number of rare and live recordings. Knitting Factory Records is also in the process of reissuing recordings by Kuti's cousins, The Lijadu Sisters, which have been unavailable for almost three decades. Fans can purchase these releases and more at Fela.net or the Knitting Factory Records website.

VIDEO: Talib Kweli and Mos Def on stage at FELA!

VIDEO: Stevie Wonder harmonizes with
FELA! dancer

FELA! in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. or Detroit

FELA KUTI REISSUES: Get albums from Fela Kuti and family
http://www.knittingfactoryrecords.com/ or http://fela.net

Letters From A Tapehead

Stereokiller: Earth

Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II
Southern Lord Recordings
Released: 1.17.12

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Free speech is being threatened...

In observation of today's massive online Blackout that's being held in protest of the two pieces of online legislation known as the STOP ONLINE PIRACY ACT (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP ACT (PIPA), Letters From A Tapehead will be inactive.  Imposed limitations on free speech by corporate standards on copyright infringement will potentially lead to a censored Internet and can make any content driven site susceptible of accusation without the benefit of due process.  Though I believe Internet piracy to be damaging to the independent musicians, labels and markets that I've staunchly advocated over the years, SOPA and PIPA would likely stifle the efforts of these independent entities, many of whom utilize the online world to promote themselves, their art and businesses outside the realm of mainstream media.

Please view the posted links and speak out against SOPA and PIPA. 

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.


Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No Ripcord: Whistle Peak

Whistle Peak
Half Asleep Upon Echo Falls
Karate Body Records
Released: 2.14.12

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shining: Exit Sun (Live)/ Fisheye

A review of Shining's upcoming live album/DVD, Live Blackjazz, is in the works and will be available for perusal at No Ripcord.  In the meantime, a clip from Live Blackjazz is available online along with the band's first official video from their 2010 studio album, Blackjazz, for the song, "Fisheye."

All info and links come courtesy of Terrorbird Media.

A review of Shining's Blackjazz album was posted at No Ripcord in 2010.

SHINING to release live album and concert film next week and premiere new video"Exit Sun"

WATCH: Exit Sun (from Live Blackjazz)

WATCH: new video for Fisheye from 2010's Blackjazz

WATCH: Live Blackjazz trailer

"If Blackjazz was a progressive metal masterpiece, Live Blackjazz takes it one step further, with the unfettered power and unrelenting energy of live performance. One warning: advance heart exams mandatory for those over forty." - All About Jazz

"melding one of their country's biggest exports with jazz (as the title suggests), dipping their toes into Nine Inch Nails and almost Aphex Twin-like spazz-tech." - Brooklyn Vegan
"Part Enslaved, part Zorn, more Mudvayne then they'd like to admit, mostly a showcase for perfecting the roar" - SPIN Reviews

Since Norway’s jazz-metal outfit, Shining, shocked the music world with their genre-defining
Blackjazz in January 2010, people have been asking themselves if it’s humanly possible at all to reproduce the sheer ferocity and aggressiveness on a stage, while still retaining the machinelike precision displayed in their punishing studio tracks.

It’s time to put all doubts aside: With their newest release out January 17th 2012, a live album and a concert DVD recorded during one single concert in Norway, Shining set a new standard in the kingdom where they are already dictating the agenda. Catch a full clip of their punishing "Exit Sun" performance now over at Brooklyn Vegan.

For the first time ever, the raw energy of their legendary live performances has been captured on tape in a setting organized solely by the band itself. Produced by the multi-talented front-man Munkeby, and backed by the same mixing and mastering team as on their previous
Blackjazz studio album, we could not get a truer version of what Blackjazz is meant to be. Straight from the horse’s mouth, this is the new standard that bands will strive to match for the next 10 or 20 years to come.

Munkeby comments:
“This is basically the “Greatest Hits” album we have always dreamed of, now beautifully combined with breath-taking film footage vibrating with power. It feels good to know that people can now truly experience how much fire and effort we pour into our live shows. It could not have been better!”

With all the blackness and all the humor,
Live Blackjazz is the perfect display of a new genre rising. With all it’s technicality and all it’s rough shooting from the hip. With the trademark meltdown guitar tones and the Bonham-reborn-as-an-android drumming. Finally we also have the proof; the saxophone is the new Devil’s instrument.

As we’ve come to expect from this band, every detail in the production chain is top-notch, and contributors at the very top of their game has been fetched from around the world. Collaborators include mixing engineer Sean Beavan (Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Slayer), mastering engineer Tom Baker (Marilyn Manson, David Lynch, Nine Inch Nails) in Hollywood, and colorist John Cryer (Muse) in London.

Continuing in the vein of legendary and genre-defining album titles, the band again showcase their utter confidence with both the metal and the jazz history, by nodding elegantly to both Miles Davis’
Live Evil and the album of the same name by Black Sabbath.

"Shining are combining jazz and metal in original ways, from the filling up of jazz's precious empty spaces with ticking nervous energy to the replacement of metal's vocal aggression with creepy and disconnected noise." - Pitchfork Media
"Blackjazz is an immaculate treat for longtime fans. It is as ferocious as it is accomplished, and will be used for years to come by extreme music fans as an instrument to measure not only compositional smarts and technical wizardry, but also pure aggression." - Tiny Mix Tapes
"This is one of the most assaultive, addictive albums around, a rip-roaring journey through sonic violence that will leave most quivering in the corner and others (a special few) totally enraptured." - All Music Guide
"For how thick the acid flows throughout Blackjazz, the music is disciplined: allowed to run rampant for periods of time before being reeled back to its former gloriousness of synthesized rage and deadly sonic eruption." - No Ripcord

Live Blackjazz out 01.17.12 in the US (Prosthetic Records)
CD + Bonus DVD, digipack
CD (live album only), jewelcase
Vinyl live album, double gatefold.


Letters From A Tapehead

John Zorn & Thurston Moore

Taken from le zornographe:

Letters From A Tapehead

Corrosion Of Conformity: The Doom/Time Of Trials

If you're not already aware, Corrosion Of Conformity's Animosity line-up, which haven't recorded together in over ten years, are reunited and releasing a new self-titled album February 14th via Candlelight Records.  Two new songs have surfaced online, so check out the links.  All info comes courtesy of Earsplit PR.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Premiere Two New Tracks From Forthcoming Album

Candlelight Records, together with partners Decibel Magazine and Pitchfork Media, today premiere songs from the forthcoming new album from CORROSION OF CONFORMITY. Produced by John Custer, the self-titled album is the first new recording from the North Carolina-based band in six years and is the first to feature material written by the esteemed Animosity trio in over a decade.

Available now for listening, Decibel Magazine is streaming “The Doom” while Pitchfork Media is streaming the album’s closer “Time Of Trials.” Each song showcases the band’s unique sound and continued commitment to diversity. Guitarist Woody Weatherman says,
“…too much pork for just one fork,” when discussing the unusual two-song launch. “I like the idea of having two tunes premiering at the same time,” he continues. Vocalist/bassist Mike Dean notes, “I slipped in a rough form of ‘The Doom’ on Full Metal Jackie's radio program back in early November. This is now the official premiere in its finished form. And with Pitchfork playing ‘Time Of Trials,’ we are excited and await fan reactions."

Listen to “The Doom” HERE.

Listen to “Time Of Trials” HERE.

England’s Metal Hammer, in celebration of today’s premieres, launched a special CORROSION OF CONFORMITY video via their online television channel that includes both songs and a pictorial of the band with information about the forthcoming album. Check it out at THIS LOCATION.

The 11-song self-titled album is the result of a year of non-stop work by the band which includes their most recent East Coast run of dates with friends Clutch and filming of a new video this past weekend. Weatherman confirms,
“The video is for the song ‘The Money Changers’ and all I can say is bankers, cops, and even Jesus himself makes an appearance.” Filmmakers Bradley Scott and Charles Cardello (Bifocal Pictures) were, “very taken with the location, in particular the hallways at our rehearsal space which have accumulated about 25 years of graffiti making everything look like a dark crack den,” recalls Dean. “As coincidence would have it, the repainting of the interior was scheduled for the very days we scheduled to shoot,” Dean says. “That was cool, as the ‘urban’ look of aerosol art is a bit overplayed at this point.”

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY has already launched exclusive, pre-order bundles that include limited band-direct items plus the deluxe digipak version of the record (featuring extended packaging and two additional songs) and the American vinyl pressing. To celebrate today’s premieres, Candlelight has launched via the official label webstore each of the four planned formats for the record plus a webstore exclusive. Click HERE to order

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY will perform next at The Orange Peel in Asheville, North Carolina before heading out on their recently announced headline tour beginning March 1. The band plans a set that will include many of the new album’s choice cuts as well selections from their earlier albums.
“‘Your Tomorrow,’ ‘Rat City,’ and ‘The Doom’ all got great response while we were out with Clutch for a brief wintery outing,” says Dean. “The new songs are noggin’ nodders and seemed to fit in very well with our older classics,” adds Weatherman. “Folks were having a good time which is what it is all about,” he confirms.

Corrosion Of Conformity will be released via Candlelight Records on February 14 in North America; a day earlier for Europe. Confirmed dates on the band’s upcoming North American tour with Torche, Valient Thorr, A Storm Of Light are below.

w/ Torche, Valient Thorr, A Storm Of Light
03/01/2012 Gramercy Theatre – New York, NY
03/02/2012 Sonar – Baltimore, MD
03/03/2012 Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, NC
03/05/2012 Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
03/06/2012 Pyramid Scheme – Grand Rapids, MI
03/07/2012 Double Door – Chicago, IL
03/08/2012 Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN
03/09/2012 Beaumont Club – Kansas City, MO
03/10/2012 Downtown Music Hall – Little Rock, AR
03/11/2012 Hi-Tone Café – Memphis, TN
03/12/2012 Trees – Dallas, TX
03/14/2012 SXSW – Austin, TX ! #
03/15/2012 SXSW – Austin, TX ! #
03/17/2012 One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA #
03/18/2012 Zydeco – Birmingham, AL #

! = No Torche
# = No Valient Thorr


Letters From A Tapehead

Earth: His Teeth Did Brightly Shine

Earth’s upcoming sequel to their very excellent 2011 release, Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I, will be out February 14th. Spin Magazine (“Stop trying to be relevant.”) has posted “His Teeth Did Shine Brightly,” which is the second track from AODDOL II. What you hear is a sense of expansion in terms of play and less repetition, improvisational tendencies taking more of a role in Dylan Carlson’s rather epic, dirt-encrusted musical tundra.

Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II will be reviewed at Stereokiller in the coming weeks. In the meantime, listen to the song and absorb some of the info on the album which has been generously provided by the great people at Earsplit PR.

Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I was reviewed in 2011 at No Ripcord.

EARTH: Spin Magazine Premieres New Track From Contemporary Legends 

Following the release of EARTH's praised Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I -- released by Southern Lord in February 2011 -- the public's first chance to hear a number from the 2nd installment of the series has arrived.

While conceived in the same sessions as the first installment, recorded by Stuart Hallerman at Avast and mastered by Mell Detmer, Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II invokes even more improvisational and unrestrained energy than its predecessor. Traces of this progression are evident in the track "His Teeth Did Brightly Shine" -- the second song from the upcoming album -- as premiered worldwide today by Spin Magazine at this location.

Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light will be released by Southern Lord in North America on February 14th via CD, 2xLP and digital download.


Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

feedtime: I Wonder What's the Matter With Papa's Little Angel Child?

I'm too familiar with the off-key noise rock blues of Australia's feedtime, though after hearing a few songs I'm more than interested in becoming better associated with their output.  Sub Pop will be releasing a 4 CD or LP compilation documenting their years with Aberrant Records and have provided all the information and linkage you see below.  Read on and sample some tracks.

Sub Pop Records to release limted edition 4 CD & LP box set of the Aberrant years by feedtime on March 13, 2012

Photo Credit: Caroline Birkett

"Interpretation is the master key"Rick

Click here to listen to your favorite feedtime songs according to Mark Arm.

It starts around ‘78 or ‘79 in Sydney, Australia. feedtime evolved from this point. There was no “formation,” it just crept through a few people who believed in the same purpose. Rick and Allen met each other in February 1970 and became friends through circumstance and necessity. Both shared a connection to music: Allen with the Sydney hard rock of the ‘70s; Rick with Cajun music and bluesmen such as Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Willie McTell and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Both recall seeing live performances by (Australian) X and Rose Tattoo, bands who outlined the fundamentals of what would become “good feel”—the term coined by the band to articulate the sonics of feedtime. Allen chose bass duties, Rick opted for electric slide guitar. Both chose motorcycles.

Dave handled drums until 1981, though very real threats of violence from irate punters (who expected to hear tame barroom fare) saw him split with the band. Allen's sister Nella filled the drum stool until around 1982, eventually she also left the band due to the hostile atmosphere within the Sydney underground rock scene.

Tom was already playing in several bands in Sydney in the early 1980s and knew feedtime through friends. He'd seen them live a few times and was duly impressed. An all-round musician, he joined feedtime on drums in 1982. The band's classic line-up was complete and three years of relentless live performance and rehearsal began. Early set-lists consisted of originals which would appear on their first two albums and covers of songs by X, The Rolling Stones and Flipper. Covers remained in the feedtime oeuvre with the band eventually releasing an LP of their favorite interpretations.
"You pay your respect to the stuff that got you going and you respect that stuff that keeps you going." —feedtime, 1985

The sound of feedtime was like nothing else in Australia: a vintage blues swagger via roots rock and the late ‘70s that didn't come from an established clique, a pure strain of rock and roll with a relentless mechanical propulsion. It was the perfect symbiosis of syncopation, minimalist rock that carried a thunderous atmosphere of reckless intoxication and intense personal pain but with a self-assured “ease” amongst the chaos. The sound was both Zen-like transcendence and a form of self-defense from psychic scum. Impenetrable, yet welcoming. Guitar noise you could dance to with lyrics cut straight from experience, tradition and dead crazy urban confusion. Repeating in cycles over and over and over again.

In 1985, feedtime recorded their debut album at Mary St. Studios with Jonathan Summers. Self-titled and self-released, the first feedtime album collected most of the band's early songs and a cover of “I Wonder What's the Matter with Papa's Little Angel Child?” originally by Mississippi Fred McDowell. Allen screen-printed 500 covers and hand-stamped the inner sleeves. Two tracks from these sessions appeared on the Why March When You Can Riot?! compilation LP (Aberrant Records, 1985). Those songs, “don't tell me” and “small talk,” were rerecorded and released as a 7" single in 1987. Bruce Griffiths was impressed with feedtime very early on and they quickly became the flagship band of his label, Aberrant Records.

"I first saw them at the Royal Oak Hotel, Parramatta, sometime in 1982. I remember they reminded me of Wire—not derivative, just similarly unique, minimal, and great. They were a true word-of-mouth phenomenon. Live, they'd blow two people away, and the next time they played, those two people would be there with four friends, and so it built." –Bruce

The second feedtime LP was released in 1987, again recorded by Jonathan Summers. shovel carried the themes and atmospherics of the band to an international audience, with Rough Trade releasing the album in the US and Megadisc in Europe. Still, the band remained an underground phenomenon in Australia.

"They were largely unknown and the 'necessary' people, in terms of being pushed, didn't know them. They didn't come with 'cool' attached, just incredible integrity and rawness. And that probably scared—or at least put-off—the 'necessary' people. That, plus the band's justifiable and hard-line refusal to kowtow and suck up to the clueless promoters, trend-following editors and UK-music-mag-worshipping radio programmers of the day kept them off the radar. Ultimately those people weren’t 'necessary,’ a revelation they [the music press and radio], no doubt, would not have been comfortable with. feedtime did it on their own terms alone." –Bruce

A split single with label-mates King Snake Roost appeared in 1987, before the aforementioned covers LP, Cooper-S in 1988. The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Lee Hazlewood, The Stooges, Slade, blues traditional “Pure Religion,” an E.E. Cummings poem, a brooding version of The Easybeats' “Sad, Lonely & Blue,” and an intense reworking of The Animals' “We've Gotta Get Out of This Place” all hammered into shape for maximum impact. The album showcased the band's classic roots and saw Nella return to contribute slide guitar.
"feedtime doesn't have perfect pitch all the time, but neither does baseball, so I figure we're in plenty of company." –Rick

The fourth LP suction was released in 1989, with Rough Trade and Megadisc again handling the US and European releases respectively and Vinyl Solution licensing the album for the UK. Butch Vig mastered the album and gave an immeasurable clarity to the ballast. The cacophony and incendiary intensity of earlier material was still present, though suction showed a broadening of the band's sound. New ideas were seeping into the song structures. Tracks such as 'pumping a line' evidenced the band in full flight and perfectly captured the minimal essence of feedtime, a rhythmic convergence of three players who had crafted their sound through the intuition you can only learn through years of repetition. Roots blues was also at the fore, with Dominic and Peter from The Backsliders providing steel-guitar and vocals on “i'll be rested,”the traditional influences converging seamlessly with the new terrain that feedtime was navigating.

A US tour was being fine-tuned for mid-1989 and international fervor was at its peak, though the undercurrent of mental strain was about to implode for Rick and Allen. suction would be the final feedtime album with this classic line-up and the tour was cancelled.

"I got to the point where I would either kill myself or commit murder.” —Rick (Blunt: A Biased History of Australian Rock, 2001)

"We just felt that we weren't going to be at full potential as a band [had we toured]." –Allen

And just like that, feedtime was no more.

feedtime have an almost subterranean legacy and those who like the band, LOVE the band and find a psychic link with this music. A ravaged beauty and soul underscore the claustrophobia of the lyrics, and the name itself is almost Zen-like: are you consuming your time or giving it over to something else? Time is given form and force through sound. There is always a road somewhere and if you gotta ride, get going and don't be afraid. Trust your instincts and don't mistake enthusiasm for lack of cool. There's a screaming madness in the dissonance, but it's got a benevolent message: "Buddy, it's a sad ol' life… But you get through it with love, your friends and family, as stress-free as you can make it… Or sit on your arse all day."

This burning energy existed for some ten years and produced some of the most powerful, creative and personal rock and roll music we are ever likely to hear. The songs are out there to discover and relate to and when they hit they explode and you're never the same again, but you're grateful for the experience. This isn't “noise rock,” this is a groundbreaking FORM of music that knows its roots but applies the lessons to a wider scope than their peers.

It's heavy but life is too and some of us know this and we channel that power into art and sometimes beautiful things are created. Sometimes it's too heavy and nothing seems to work out. Sometimes you just need to laugh it off and stand at the back of the room for a while.

This is perfect sound and pure art. Avant-garde pub-rock. All hail the concrete urban blues.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What I Heard This Morning: Indian Handcrafts

So, the question is, how do you feel about Death From Above 1979? If your response is positive, there’s a good possibility you’ll find something to enjoy via the two-man rock sounds of Indian Handcrafts. The band recently signed to Sargent House and will be releasing the follow-up to their self-titled, self-released debut album in March of 2012. All info comes courtesy of the ever-awesome Us/Them Group.

Indian Handcrafts sign to Sargent House, recording new album in March 2012

Canadian power-duo Indian Handcrafts have signed with Sargent House to release their next album. The Toronto band begins recording in Los Angeles this March with engineer Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Big Business, Red Sparowes). The album is expected to be released in late 2012.

Until then, check out a free MP3 for "Red Action" (download/stream HERE) from the band's self-titled 2011 self-released debut (stream the full album via Bandcamp). Watch the official video for "Red Action" HERE and a blistering live performance of "Starcraft" HERE.

Indian Handcrafts' well honed, massive melodic heft seems to belie the simplicity of instrumentation between drummer/vocalist Brandyn James Aikins and guitarist/vocalist Daniel Brandon Allen. While their songs feature hints of heavy, technically skilled bands like Big Business and Hella, there are also strong melodies and a vocal intensity inviting comparisons to bands ranging from Trail of Dead to Death From Above 1979 to Big Black.

Aikins and Allen have played music together for nearly a decade, but it wasn't until the two began writing as a duo in December 2009 in order to satisfy their need for volume and velocity that Indian Handcrafts was born. In Spring 2011, the pair released their 8-song debut filled with songs about life, strife, mental health, rebellion and space-traveling dope-dealing beagles.

01/14 Hamilton, ON @ Casbah Lounge
01/18 Peterborough, ON @ Red Dog
01/19 Barrie, ON @ The Port
01/20 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
01/21 London, ON @ Call the Office

07/14 Toronto, ON @ Downsview Park (Edgefest 2012)

Artist: Indian Handcrafts
Album: S/T
Label: self-released
Release Date: May 1st, 2011

01. Drop Out

02. Red Action (MP3) (VIDEO)
03. Starcraft (VIDEO)
04. Microwave Lunch
05. The Jerk
06. Jacklord
07. Centauri Teenage Riot
08. Leary vs, The Wolfman

On the Web: 

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, January 09, 2012

Frankie Rose: Know Me

It's interesting to hear Frankie Rose (Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls) take her usual mode of Phil Spector teenage dream pop bliss and come up with something like "Know Me," which is more of a Cure or Smiths influenced, high tempo variation. Her new album, Interstellar, will be out in late February.  All info below comes courtesy of Force Field PR.

Frankie Rose and the Outs 2010 self-titled debut was reviewed at No Ripcord.

  Frankie Rose - Know Me by Slumberland Records

Frankie Rose premieres first single from sophomore album Interstellar, "Know Me" STREAM: "Know Me" -


I think we were all knocked out by the Frankie Rose and the Outs album from 2010, the effortlessness of its gorgeous girl-pop mantras, the intimate immensity of its Spector-esque walls of reverb, the beauty of a song sung sweetly over the most graceful two-chord vamps. But are you ready for the new Frankie Rose? - her transformation into a wholly other kind of pop, the reverie and revelation of Interstellar, an album that floats free of its maker's history - time spent with Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stilts, and creator of one of the most breathlessly compelling girl-pop albums of the past few years - and offers the listener something strangely other, as alien as it is familiar, as compelling as it is enchanting.

Interstellar Frankie takes the lessons learned with her debut album - like reverb as the holy route to pop-grandeur, scaling a wall of teenage tears - fully digests, and transfers those skills into the brave new world mapped out by ten new songs. Aided by production ace Le Chev, remixer supreme for Lemonade, Narcisse, Passion Pit, and Frankie's own "Candy," Frankie has replaced that reverbed-out classicism with the confident swagger of a singer and auteur fully aware of how to build the simplest of pop moves into aching, full-blown melodramas, how to grab hold of an emotion and ride its darker waves.

"Know Me" is the first single from Interstellar. It's a gorgeous piece of widescreen pop, dreamy and driving at the same time. The clean, big hooks bring to mind the best of mid-80s pop -- Smiths, New Order -- without sacrificing any of Frankie's unique melodic style. It's a single in the best sense; a three minute gem that perfectly captures the essence of the new album. Le Chev's remix on the flip side is pure 2012 - a slow-motion house burner with a tropical vibe and atmosphere to spare. Turn it up and drift away.


FEB. 21 Brooklyn, NY Knitting Factory (Album Release Show - tix)

Frankie Rose 
Know Me single
(Slumberland / Memphis Industries)
Street Date: Jan. 17, 2012

1. Know Me
2. Know Me (Le Chev Remix)

Frankie RoseInterstellar
(Slumberland / Memphis Industries)
Street Date: Feb. 21, 2012 (US) / Mar. 19, 2012 (UK)

1. Interstellar
2. Know Me
3. Gospel/Grace
4. Daylight Sky
5. Pair Of Wings
6. Had We Had It
7. Night Swim
8. Apples For The Sun
9. Moon In My Mind
10. The Fall

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/missfrankierose 

Twitter - http://twitter.com/MissfrankieRose 
Official Site - http://www.missfrankierose.com/ 
Label - http://www.slumberlandrecords.com

Letters From A Tapehead

New Selections — Emma Ruth Rundle, Tropical Fuck Storm, Primitive Man, Private Life, Uniform, Erika Wennerstrom, Djrum, Windhand

Starting August off with some new singles. Emma Ruth Rundle:  " Darkhorse " (via Rarely Unable /  Sargent House  / YouTub...